i am algorithm (solo show)

Aspex Gallery, Portsmouth

26 April – 7 July 2013

aspex welcomes back Charlie Tweed, winner of Emergency5, for a solo show featuring a series of new and recent video works. The show launches our new season where we will be asking the question Where Does Progress End?

i am algorithm continues the artist’s exploration of the human desire to control and systematise the natural world, and how new technologies have instilled a complex form of social control over populations in both the physical and virtual sphere.

The films attempt to visualise an approach that moves beyond the separation of human and environment and physical and virtual space in order to present a flat ontology where the voice of all types of organic and inorganic materials, architectures, technical components, processes and algorithms is heard.

“Tweed creates a world in which algorithms, viruses and molecules merge with one other, with the elements and with the atmosphere to form new hybridised life forms and self-governing processes.” Marie-Anne McQuay

The films also expose the physicality and materiality of the virtual by undermining its invisibility and focusing on its data centers, cabling, codecs and their base materials. The works propose escape routes where technical components, affects and ecologies form new assemblages with organic materials, noxious gasses and algorithms to become new hybridised agents. The films directly address the viewer and use complex editing methods and affective techniques to seduce and mesmerize the audience into following them in their proposed actions.

In one film the Tricorn (2013) Portsmouth’s old (and long demolished) Tricorn centre is visualized in the form of a 3D computer model that superimposes itself onto Gun Wharf  “I am the Tricorn (it says), I am the interface, re-enlivened and coming back to haunt you.”

Tweed works largely with appropriated material that is re-filmed, effected and re-contextualised, adding text to speech narration which renders the film’s source, location and authorship difficult to place. It is uncertain whether the places or events have occurred or will occur in the past, present, future or in a parallel space.

Charlie Tweed was born in Reading in 1974 and is currently a PhD researcher at Kingston University, London. He graduated with an MFA in Art Practice from Goldsmiths, University of London in 2008. Recent group exhibitions include The London Open, Whitechapel Gallery, 2012.  Solo exhibitions include Notes I, II & III, at Spike Island, Bristol, 2010 and Alma Enterprises, London, 2011.


This exhibition will tour to Phoenix Arts Centre, Exeter from July 19th – August 31st 2013


A new publication will launch alongside the exhibition which expands upon some of the ideas explored within the films.  The publication is designed and produced by artist Nick Davies in collaboration with Matt Burrows, curator of Exeter Phoenix. It includes an essay by Marie-Anne McQuay curator of Spike Island, Bristol.

Charlie Tweed would like to thank Alex Counsell for allowing us to use his 3D animation of the Tricorn centre in both the exhibition and catalogue.

Films Presented

In The Meadow (2013) (13:50 minutes) the voice of components, metals, matter, effluent and various forms of electronic waste is heard. It appears to come from a vast and complex site, a future vision of waste and excess which is very much alive, where all forms of material have been disposed of, forgotten and abandoned. The vitality of this rotting matter both above and below the surface is voiced, as it looks at implementing its own way of thinking and own conditions for life where materials constantly merge and mutate.

In The Tricorn (2013)  (7:50 minutes) a superimposed machine arrives in the harbour of Gun Wharf and appears to hover above the water. This machine looks like a 3D model of the old Tricorn centre which was demolished in Portsmouth in 2004. The new Tricorn appears to be a piece of software and a bank of computing devices and other technologies, which is attracting other technologies and components to join it in inciting the development of a vast, ever expanding, panspectric mechanism.

Grain (2013) (13 minutes)  focuses on the Isle of Grain in Kent and plans to remove its population of birds and people and replace them with an airport. Grain has historically been utilised as a place for London’s resources housing the BritNed power cable which brings power from Europe and some of the UKs key natural gas facilities and a container port. Taking on the voice of a self learning algorithm the film outlines a new model for Grain by looking at the potential of assimilating its technologies, objects, containers, birds and human population into new assemblages and hybrids.

Codec (2012) (4 minutes) looks at creating a subversive transmission algorithm that randomises and destroys data and video images by continuously encoding and decoding them, ‘modulating and de-modulating’ so that they have the potential of escaping pre-defined algorithms and raster screen displays.

Archimeters (2011) (4:39 minutes) focuses on Ordos – a near empty ghost town in Inner Mongolia, China which has been newly built but remains almost entirely empty. The work lays out a plan for appropriating the town and constructing “a fully integrated auto-poietic and auto-effective mechanism”.

Vorkuta (2011) (5 minutes) focuses on a plan to construct an underground repository for seeds and genetic material, situated in the old mining tunnels of Vorkuta in the Komi Republic, Russia. These tunnels are situated just north of the Arctic Circle. Vorkuta was the site of a Gulag labour camp, then later focused on coal mining and today is becoming a site for the future extraction of gas and oil from its vast reserves.